Renovation Logistics
July 28, 2014 9:15 AM   Subscribe

A few related questions about light renovating and filling of an apartment (with some NYC-specific stuff.)

We were approved by the co-op board (yay!) and should close some time around August. Then we have to fix the place up. On the to-do list is:

-Ripping out carpets and refinishing the hardwood under them
-Putting in a new fridge, dishwasher, above-range microwave and (possibly but unlikely) stove.
-Purchasing rugs (required by the board) and furniture
-Professional cleaning

My wife and I spoke about this and from what we can tell the best order is as above, but we're not totally sure. The main thing is that I think it'd be better to have it cleaned before furniture/rugs (to get more surfaces cleaned) she thinks it's best after (because movers will be bringing in dusty boxes/furniture from storage.) She generally has more sense than I do about such things, but if there's something either of us are missing about the scenario, let me know.

Also: what does a store's markup on appliances look like? My boss clued me in on a place where you can haggle (especially with the leverage of buying and having delivered and installed three major appliances at once) but I'm not 100% sure what the numbers on that look like for mid-range appliances.

Finally, if you have someone good in NYC (preferably Brooklyn) to recommend who does floors, let me know.
posted by griphus to Home & Garden (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I would get professional cleaning before the furniture and rugs come in. The amount of mess the movers will make will be nothing compared to what renovation does and I would not want my new stuff exposed to that mess. Also, if the floors are not cleaned before the rugs go down, I can't imagine the floor or underside of the rugs will ever be really, truly clean. (I have watched professional carpet installers roll it out in the filthy parking lot of an apartment complex to cut it, so I imagine this is not really unusual. But I would not be happy with it, personally.)

FWIW, my mom used to clean apartments for a living and I sometimes went with her in my teens. By "clean apartments," I mean she was part of the crew that cleaned up after other people moved out in order to get it move-in ready for the next tenants. It was not uncommon for this to also be a timeframe in which repairs and/or painting happened.
posted by Michele in California at 10:02 AM on July 28, 2014

No help on the floors, but if you need a cleaning service recommendation, We Can Do It! is great!
posted by snaw at 10:17 AM on July 28, 2014

The order of floor refinishing before painting is spot on. I made the mistake of doing things the opposite way about 20 years when I redid a house. The hardwood buffing spit up a thick layer of brown dust all over the walls. No amount of sweeping or brushing the walls removed it all, either.

Just make sure you brush the walls thoroughly before you paint so the paint adheres properly.
posted by yellowcandy at 10:28 AM on July 28, 2014

I think the order you want to do everything in should be as follows:

- ripping out carpets AND removal of appliances to be replaced
- refinishing hardwood floors
- professional cleaning
- painting
- replacement of appliances
- rugs and furniture arrive

My only concern with this order of things is that the appliance delivery might scuff the new floors or the new paint, so you could conceivably put the new appliance delivery as item #2. But you'll have to move them anyway to do the painting. BUT conceivably the painters will be responsible for any such damage caused by moving appliances, whereas an appliance delivery person might not be.
posted by elizardbits at 11:56 AM on July 28, 2014

I did this for a living for better than a decade. The rule for remodeling, same as cleaning, is top to bottom.

Execpt in very rare circumstances [if the carpet was installed before the baseboard/shoe] your first step should be your last step.

Here is my order accounting for the difficulties yellowcandy had above:

-move out, in-laws even, better to remodel in spring than winter
-gut as necessary
-sheetrock, molding and trim
-put in a new fridge, dishwasher, above-range microwave stove [assuming an istalled tile floor and that no new electrical is required].
-Rip out carpets and refinish the hardwood under them - here I and yellowcandy depart - they make some very good vacuum/buffing/sanding combinations that won't put dust on the wall
-Purchase rugs (required by the board) and furniture - no matter from a remodeling standpoint.
-Professional cleaning

Some pictures would help.

PROTIP: The older the worker the better the quality and effeciency makes up for youth.
posted by vapidave at 11:59 AM on July 28, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks for all the answers so far!

I think getting the appliances in before the floors is definitely a good idea just because the kitchen is pretty deep into the apartment. I don't think we're painting the kitchen (also we're probably doing the painting ourselves.) Definitely not gutting or re-tiling the kitchen and the electrical should be fine (it was fine for the appliances we're replacing.) The appliances are all going to be measured to fit into pre-existing holes where the current appliances are.

...removal of appliances to be replaced

I was going under the assumption that the company that brings the new appliances would cart away the old ones. Do they generally not? Can I pay them to? I and yellowcandy depart...

Is there a good reason to save the floors for after the painting? We were going by the same logic as yellowcandy: it's easier to clean a wall to be painted than risk having the new paint job messed up.

Photos of the space.
posted by griphus at 12:12 PM on July 28, 2014

That was unfortunately not my experience with getting a new fridge. I had to arrange with my super to take the old one away, and did not find out until the new one was already in the apartment. (obvsly do better than i did and find this out beforehand and don't just assume)
posted by elizardbits at 12:21 PM on July 28, 2014

I was going under the assumption that the company that brings the new appliances would cart away the old ones. Do they generally not? Can I pay them to?

This is a big "it depends". Home Depot almost certainly will. The haggly place your boss is telling you about probably won't. You can put appliances on freecycle/free craigstlist with a "must remove and haul away yourself" and it will probably be gone in less than 2 hours, but that's a big probably.
posted by brainmouse at 12:36 PM on July 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

"Is there a good reason to save the floors for after the painting? We were going by the same logic as yellowcandy: it's easier to clean a wall to be painted than risk having the new paint job messed up."

In my experience yes. It's easier to correct painting than it is to correct a finish on a hardwood floor. When you paint, no matter how careful you are, whether you use an airless sprayer or if you roll it and no matter how closely you mask there are going to be tiny droplets of paint that land on the floor and some paint will seep under the tape. Professionals know to look and wipe quickly but you don't. Mind, it's not a matter of impossible, it's more a matter of best practices. If, I mean when, you spill and don't notice or get some droplets that dry on a finished hardwood floor it is "dammit-bust-out-the-sander" and try to feather the finish [which is really hard] time.

Maybe think of the difference between refinishing a cello and painting a wall.

BTW, hopefully not being too personal here, that carpet is horrible and you are doing the world a favor and though I like mine I would gladly live in that space. It looks lovely and with a little light and some echo - well, I'm jealous.

Insist on references from people that had work done long ago, the longer the better. It's easy to make something look good for a little while and too many contractors do that.
posted by vapidave at 1:09 PM on July 28, 2014 [2 favorites]

The one really dark pic of the kitchen looks like a tile floor. Are you saying that the tiled kitchen floor is not being redone? I am not entirely clear on that point.

Because if the kitchen floors are not being redone, yes, I would bring in appliances before ripping out carpeting in other rooms and re-doing the floors. Appliances are a bear to move and are worse than almost anything else you bring into the house about leaving marks in the process of moving them out or in.

I also would paint the walls before ripping out carpeting and re-doing the floors. The carpet is going to go anyway, so paint drips on it are no big deal. As noted above, spot-refinishing wood is typically a great deal tougher than a touch-up paint job on a wall. Especially since your plan is to refinish existing wood floors under the carpeting.

(Also: Count me in the jealous/green with envy camp.)
posted by Michele in California at 1:28 PM on July 28, 2014

Response by poster: Yeah just to be clear, tile floor in the kitchen (and bathroom) is staying as-is.
posted by griphus at 1:31 PM on July 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

Great place!

You're acting as your own general contractor, yes? When we did the big pre-move renovation at our house the GC scheduled it in this order: pulled carpet, painted, refinished floors, did paint touch-ups. You need to line up your painters to come do the final touch ups after the floors.

Some random advice:

‣  Have the floor refinishers tape over all the vents before they sand. Do a walkthrough and check that they didn't miss one. Otherwise, every time you turn on the air/heat your get a shower of dust. Ask me how I know.

‣  Replace the stove unless it's practically new. If you're that far into the job, might as well do the whole thing. Also, you can buy the appliances as a suite and negotiate a bundled price.

‣  Contact your energy company and see if they are offering any appliance efficiency rebates. These are very common and people forget to ask. (When I did the house in Texas, I think I got about $800 bucks total in rebates for the W/D, fridge, dishwasher and stove.)

‣  Cleaners come before the movers. You want to unpack your stuff onto clean shelves, etc.

‣  I had a similar kitchen configuration in our last house which was a tiny bungalow. We had dishwasher-opens-into-the-fridge space similar to your stove/fridge combo. We did a fridge with french doors on top with bottom drawer and it worked well. If you don't want to do side by side, you can make french door work.

‣  Those side by side closets - do they connect on the inside? Could they? If you're going to paint anyway and the space is there, I'd rip that wall and reframe the closet door so you can open the whole space. It's not a terribly expensive renovation if your've already got the painter there and there's no electric/water/vent to move. Good closets are gold!

Congrats! And post after pics!
posted by 26.2 at 2:07 PM on July 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oh! And when they pull the floor molding they can run those wires behind it for you. That's like no work at all.
posted by 26.2 at 2:17 PM on July 28, 2014

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